There are cruise ships, and there’s the Hurtigruten
While other cruise ships keep getting bigger and more crowded, and feature endless lists of activities that keep getting longer, the Hurtigruten keeps things simple by making nature’s scenery and the Norwegian coastal towns their main attractions. Boasting a fleet of 13 ships that visit more than 30 ports along Norway’s west coast from Bergen to Kirkenes, the Hurtigruten is a unique blend of cruise ship, passenger ferry and cargo ship. People use it for pleasure cruises and as a way to travel between towns.
Hurtigruten’s boats are smaller than the floating behemoths Americans may be used to seeing, which allows them greater maneuverability in the fjords. And the fjords are the main attraction: this is a cruise that allows passengers to soak in the natural beauty of Norway’s coast; there are no rock-climbing walls or wave pools to get in the way. But the ships aren’t entirely without things to do, boasting good food, bars, and light entertainment.
The founder, Richard With, a Norwegian sea captain, started with a steam ship that provided service to the northern and southern parts of Norway. In 1893, the first voyage departed from Trondheim for Hammerfest. The ship delivered cargo, mail and passengers. Over the course of the following 90 years, the ship became popular as the most reliable and trusted way of travel before Norway developed extensive auto and air routes. It began as a weekly daylight service but was eventually extended to travel both day and night, winter and summer. It provided unprecendented access to the coastal towns, and remained the primary mode of mail delivery in the region until 1893.
Unique excursions and Norway’s cruises
Hurtigruten is currently offering 12-Day Classic Round Voyage, 11-Day Classic Norwegian Discovery, 7-Day Classic Voyage North, and 6-Day Classic Voyage South trips.
Hurtigruten’s unique excursions include the following:
- Polar expedition: husky sledding ride
- Snowmobile safari
- Glacier adventure
- Snow Hotel: features art made from art and snow, and a hotel bar made from ice
- ATV/Quad safari to the Russian border – Kirkenes
- Birds of the Arctic
Additional information is available at http://www.hurtigruten.us/norway/